Forecasting Change: Breaking down the benefits of trees

Problems increasing with urban heat islands


ORLANDO, Fla – Trees are natures way of cooling off. Everyone knows the the benefit of shade, but trees also help reduce heat by pulling water up through their roots and releasing it into the air through leaves.

Trees, shrubs and grass all help to reduce storm water runoff. Even mangroves help to slow down storm surge in a land-falling hurricane.

Check out these graphics that show how much trees aid the environment.

Impacts of trees
Runoff avoided in millions of gallons per year

In areas where trees and vegetation have been removed for buildings, parking lots and other development, we have what is called a “heat island effect.” All of that concrete, pavement and brick absorb heat during the day and then releases it overnight.

This link shows where areas near cities are warmer than the average for the surrounding area as a whole.

Check it out to see if you live in a heat island and think about the trees, water and the heat any time you see development.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.